12 Steps To A Healthier Staff Culture: Step 2

Posted by Kimberly Scott

Step 2I grew up in a pastor’s home and was daily reminded throughout my childhood of how important it is to “walk” with the Lord in a way that will bring honor to him. In my early twenties, however, I realized that my “talk” would draw or repel my friends to or away from Christ.  In my desire to please friends and be included, I found myself listening to and engaging in gossip. Here I am now – pushing 50 years old – and the struggle is STILL real, girls. Like everyday, real.

Church life can be hard and we are all looking for ways to process those unique challenges but it’s HOW we do it that matters. Our words are powerful and gossip is toxic. Just sayin’.

We are surrounded and bombarded by new forms of communication in our culture all the time.  Texts, instant messages, social media, tweets, signs, billboards and media are dominating and leading the way for a means of connection as well as opportunities to voice our opinions.  While these are effective ways of quickly making a statement or getting a point across, there can be a wake in our hurried rush that can crush and wound those we love as well as the casual observer.

Our communication and words affect everyone who will come across our paths. We are BILLBOARDS of what we believe, who we are and how we reflect God. We’ve got to TALK the walk! That’s why Paul encourages Titus to remind the believers that they shouldn’t speak evil of anyone, and should avoid bickering and quarrels. They should also be peaceable and considerate to everyone and show gentleness (Titus 3:1-2).

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In our daily lives we have the ability to bring life or crush it by the words we speak. Based on what we say and how we say it, others can sense whether or not we are safe, supportive and loving or critical, whining and negative. While our culture tells us “Speak your mind! No filter!” God calls us to represent him with what we say and how we say it to bring his light and love to those around us. Talking the walk is a choice we make every time we open our mouths as we speak life and hope and build a legacy behind us that points to Jesus.

My son, Ronnie, was deployed in Afghanistan as a soldier with the U.S. Army. While he was at boot camp and isolated from outside communication, I sent him a letter each day. Those were very dark days emotionally and physically as he was being prepared for excruciating challenges that he could face on the battlefield. The letters I sent reminded him daily of his purpose, his value, his faith and our deep love for and commitment to him. They were loving letters from home, and they kept him grounded through months of separation and isolation, encouraging him just like Paul encouraged Titus. Keep the faith! Talk the walk! Exhibit Christ in your life!

Before you call, text or download to a friend, be sure to spend a quick minute processing with the One who knows and loves you the most.   Sometimes just five minutes in the Bible can serve as a personal love letter to you, especially if you’re going through excruciating challenges.  It can bring encouragement each day as it describes how much God loves you, how he sees you, how he values you and how he designed and created you for his purposes and will replace those discouraging words that tear down and destroy.  You will then in turn be full and able to pour out to those you love and influence every day!  Come on ladies…let’s TALK THE WALK!

Food for thought…
On any given day, do you find that your words build up or tear down? Choose a verse to commit to memory so that you speak it when you are tempted to say something that doesn’t edify.

12 Steps To A Healthier Staff Culture: Step 1

Posted by Tammy Sabourin

A month ago, upon entering our laundry room, my feet were met with a shallow pool of water. I called out to my handy husband who quickly responded, discovering a small leak in one of the pipes. From his toolbox, he pulled out a clamp and fastened it to the pipe. The water leak ended and the pool at our feet stopped growing. 

Just like this water leak occurred from a faulty pipe, a leader’s leak of negative thoughts and complaints can easily flood a ministry with discouragement.

We know that complaining can be harmful to those who hear it but what about those who speak it? Allow me to make share some experiences, scriptures and suggestions to help you and me as we seek to Think Good Thoughts.

Complaining hardens the heart.

When we feel we have been wronged, destructive emotions can follow. Emotions like pride, anger, and revenge. Our hearts can become hardened, lacking in sensitivity. When we are unable to let go of our hurt and instead choose to complain, we risk leading from a place of darkness and sin that can and will have an effect on those around us.      

Ephesians 4:17-19 says:

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

The task of not complaining can be easy some days and downright difficult on others. But I have found that when I focus on the wrongs or inconveniences that have been committed against me, I slip into a pathetic, unhealthy mindset. When I center my thoughts on Christ, it keeps my heart pure and open to loving and serving others. 

Complaining leads to self-centeredness.

Thinking back to the moment I fully surrendered my life to God, I recall feeling an enormous sense of freedom. I’d spent many years attempting to manage my life based on my own terms. It was a very self-centered strategy, not to mention that it was exhausting! I have learned that being in ministry means partnering with Christ, allowing His perfect plan to work through us. This is not a “lone-wolf” type of relationship. I admit, however, when I allow negative thoughts to linger, it can be easy to fall back into self-centered tendencies. 

Ephesians 4:20-23 says:

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Christ calls us to minister from a fresh attitude including righteous and holy thoughts. This is not meant to discredit our hurts, but rather to encourage us to rise above them by His power.

IMG_0003Complaining distorts and corrupts.

Are you familiar with the phrase, “Making a mountain out of a mole hill?” Each of us in ministry has undoubtedly encountered a stressful situation that began as something small such as a snide remark or an ambiguous Facebook post. While I can testify to having some dark days, I can also admit to having personally created several bad mindsets by allowing a single discouraging thought to escalate.    

Ephesians 4:26-27 says:

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. 

The longer we allow hurts to fester, the more opportunity we give Satan to distort and corrupt our thoughts and situations. 

How can we be better at thinking good thoughts?

When the pipe in our laundry room was remedied by a clamp, the water leak stopped and the pool at our feet ceased to grow deeper. 

Think of prayer as the clamp for our complaining.

As leaders, unburdening ourselves to the One who created us and is all-knowing of our situation can put a stop to a potential flood that could negatively saturate our ministry. It is a significant step we can take to not only re-equip us with thoughts of confidence and optimism, but also create a positive example to those whom we are privileged to lead. 

If we want the people we lead to walk in a way that doesn’t include complaining or negative thoughts, we must exhibit that in our own lives first. We can’t expect people to follow us where we are not willing to go ourselves. No matter if we lead a group of fifty people or five people, we have to set the example we want them to follow.

It starts with me.   

Food for thought…
What steps will you take today to take negative thoughts captive and replace them with healthy ones?

Walk. Run. Hop. Skip. Jump.

Get moving with Leading and Loving It! The second annual Movement 5K is right around the corner.

Step out with your friends, small group, staff wives or ConnectLOCAL group. Help us equip, connect, and impact pastors’ wives and women in ministry around world. The Movement 5K is a customizable race happening wherever you are on Saturday, May 2nd. You can hit a treadmill or run the trails.

So lace up your running shoes, grab your girls & register today! Make sure to tag us while you train using the hashtags #themovenent5k and #leadingandlovingit

Lisa Hughes – Movement 5K from Leading and Loving It on Vimeo.

His Name Is Noah

Birth of Noah - 2.26.99

Birth of Noah – 2.26.99

“The days are long but the years are short,” I’ve heard it said to describe parenting. As a new mom, I remember dreaming about the 8:00 bedtime in order to regroup for the next day of raising little people who would cry and laugh within the same minute which would potentially make me cry and laugh within the same minute.

Those were some long days.

But then those crazy, erratic terrible two-year olds became five-year olds who questioned everything and they turned into ten-year olds who are helpful and sweet and still thought you were the cat’s meow but never seemed to be short on energy while you often were.

Those were some long days.

Then he turned 12 and pulled away and decided he was smarter than his parents and copped an attitude once or 37 times a day for about 1,000 days. He rolled his eyes at you more than dice gets rolled in Vegas. He didn’t understand why he “couldn’t just do what everyone else his age was doing.”

Those were some long days.

But he came back to you. You don’t know what triggered his return or even the day it happened, but it happened. He stopped being so annoyed with you. Kudos to you, Mom, for not being so annoying anymore.

He is 16 today.

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Noah

And these 16 years have been the shortest years of my life.

In many ways I have waited for this day to arrive. For it’s very entrance into my life means that I will save a lot of gas, have less miles to drive and not clock nearly as many hours in my Toyota Highlander. Because he won’t need me to take him to church or to work or to meet up with some friends.

And while I’ll have more hours to myself and less chauffeuring, I will miss out on those conversations that we had. Sometimes heated ones, sometimes not. I will miss the spiritual conversations we had during that 18 minute trek to his work and the 13 minute jaunt to our LifeChurch.tv campus. As annoying as it is, I’ll miss how loud he plays his music.

But this new season, this new place in life for him is good. He is doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing – growing up. He’s becoming a man right in front of my eyes. And while it’s an amazing thing to watch, the wing spreading, it is not easy for this momma’s heart who prayed for this child to enter her womb for 4 years. Not easy at all.

These last 16 years have been tremendous. He has grown. I have grown. It has been so good, so rich. And ya wanna know the thing I’m excited about now?

Waiting to see how God is going to use him in this world. Because I have no doubt that Noah Christopher Beall is becoming exactly who God wants him to become.

 

 

Why I Pray Dangerously

Posted by Heather Palacios

PrayingI’ve prayed dangerously.

And I don’t do this to challenge or test God! I have made such bold requests because I perpetually hear this one verse spinning on the rotisserie of my mind: “You do not have, because you do not ask.”

When I prayed in the psych ward in July 2000, I prayed dangerously:  “God if you can get me out of here, I’ll spend the rest of my life helping people not end up here.”

And you can see how that turned out. I’m out so I help. Simple.

After dealing with my youngest brother who has battled addiction and homelessness, I prayed, “God, give me eyes to see people the way you do.”

That’s dangerous.

Because if God answers it, you’ll find yourself in tears for others on a regular basis. At times, I’ve woken up in the middle of the night, dripping in sweat, heart racing like I’m being chased, my mind filled with a huge burden for someone else. Oftentimes people I don’t even know. Sometimes as crazy as praying for the girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Africa. That’s dangerous because the enemy whispers, “Who are you to pray for something so big?”

Maybe I sound like a fool, but I guess I pray dangerously because I know that in the end, God hears them all and answers in His best way.

And I trust that implicitly. I trust Him with my entire being.  

I’d rather pray dangerously and have him say “No” or “Not now” than stand before him one day and hear him say, “You didn’t have, because you didn’t ask.”

I hope this encourages someone today. 

#‎PrayDangerously‬